Renovations are fantastic ways to bring new life to an old or outdated space. They can open up a house to new light and give better flow from room to room. Renovations can make an old drab kitchen new and functional or a renovation can change the exterior to create a whole new look to the house, transforming into a showplace. Renovations can also be stressful and unexpectedly expensive if not planned well. Here is what I have found really helps people maintain sanity on a renovation.
Do a small survey inspection of the house. Have the electrical, mechanical and plumbing reviewed. Have someone look at the roof, basement or crawl space. Are the windows in good shape? Is there any rot in the walls or floors? Any of these small issues can be major once you start the renovation. Have there been a lot of previous renovations by others? This can mean poor workmanship by previous owners and major work for you to fix the problem before beginning the new work.
Set some parameters. Unless money is no object, it's good idea to pick an area or even a couple of areas for the work. Lots of little project areas throughout the house can lead renovating the whole house. How much time and money are you willing spend on the changes? Set a budget number and make it clear to all involved that the number is real. Give yourself a set budget and a contingency. The contingency is for unexpected issues and not for initial budget planning. Plan for about 10% on renovations.
Plan the project out no matter what the size. Understand the scope of the work. Make sure the drawings encompass everything you need and set construction limits. Select as many materials and finishes as possible. Talk to a few contractors and have them give you a set number and time frame for the work. Do as much work ahead of time as possible and this will save an immense amount of stress later on.
Renovations are basically the equivalent to architectural surgery. No matter how large or small the operation, once you are in there, you have to fix the problem. This is called project creep. It can be a time and money killer. There will almost always be a surprise in a renovation project, but if these steps have been taken, it will only be a minor issue as opposed to major one. Enjoy the process. There is nothing better than giving new life to an old house.